I think I made the Chiropractor Gods angry with my last post. Two days after sharing the story (of the bizarre chiropractor ad) I woke up from a normal night’s sleep and discovered that I could not move. Technically I could move if I chose to, but since doing so caused me incredible back pain I tried not to. When I did eventually attempt to stand (very slowly) I discovered that I could not stand up straight. I was permanently bent slightly forward, as if my back had decided that that was far enough and walking up right was over rated.
By day two I was using a walking stick to get around and by day three I was taking so many painkillers that there was a danger of my family-in-law holding a sudden intervention. During dinner that evening I was slurring my words and even drooling ever so slightly.
“Maybe you should just call the chiropractor,” my wife suggested as I limped around the house on day four. It was the closest thing I was going to get to an actual intervention. “Just use my phone. I have the number in there.”
I retrieved her phone as she drove and scrolled through the contact list until I saw the name Chiropractor. After a short conversation with the receptionist I had an appointment set for 8am two days later. I didn’t really think about how early in the morning the appointment was until I put the phone down. I’d only been thinking about getting my back sorted out as soon as possible. Unfortunately for my wife she was also going to have to get up early in the morning to drive me there since I was in no condition to drive myself.
When the morning of the appointment arrived we woke up at 6:30am, got ready and jumped in the car (metaphorically speaking, for me it was more of a slow easing in to the car with lots of old man sounds). Rather than waiting with me in the waiting room my wife was planning to drop me off at the chiropractor then drive to the train station to get a cup of tea and return a short while later to pick me up again. It seemed like a good idea. We arrived, I got out the car (slowly) and waved good bye to her as she drove off. I turned around and slowly limped into the building and towards the reception desk…
… and then I limped back to the car and my waiting wife half an hour later without having actually seen the chiropractor.
“What do you mean you didn’t see the chiropractor?” my wife asked, looking puzzled after I informed her of this.
“They had no record of my appointment,” I replied while slowly lowering myself into the passenger seat, “Owww… Whoever I spoke to yesterday forgot to write it down. The chiropractor wasn’t even in yet because he didn’t think he had any early appointments. They phoned him at home to try and sort out the mix up.”
“So do you have to come back another day instead now?” She asked.
“No. We have to come back later today. I got an appointment for this afternoon.” I replied.
“But what have you been doing for the last half hour?” It was a valid question, especially since she’d been watching the front of the building, expecting me to come out of it but I had not. I’d just approached the car from behind, walking up the street.
“Wellllllll…..” I started, realizing there was no good way of explaining where I’d been.
Once I’d learned that my appointment was not going to happen it felt silly to simply stand outside the building, waiting for her to return from her tea break. I didn’t have my phone with me so I couldn’t simply call her. So instead of simply feeling like an idiot I’d decided to be an actual idiot and started walking.
“… I walked to the train station. I thought I might still catch you there,” I finished and quickly put on my seatbelt, hoping that this would somehow distract her from what I had just said. It didn’t.
“You walked to the train station?!” She exclaimed after pausing briefly to laugh. I guess it seemed like a reasonable reaction considering the train station was over a fifteen minutes walk away and I had a bad back. “What made you think I would still be there?”
“I thought you’d still be drinking your tea,” I said with the conviction of someone who didn’t know they had already lost the conversation.
“But I drove straight back here after I got it. You weren’t going to be getting off a train were you! Why would I wait outside the train station?”
“To drink your tea. It’s not unreasonable to think that you might.”
“Yes it is,” she laughed, “Of course I was going to drive straight back here. This is where I was going to meet you… I don’t get it. Where you hoping to out run the car?”
“Of course not. I was keeping an eye out for the car on my way there in case you already drove back.” There had been a flaw in that plan anyway that I’d only realized after leaving the train station again. I’d been looking for our car which is silver but we’d borrowed her Dad’s car which is dark grey. I’d been looking for the wrong car. It didn’t matter anyway. It turned out she had driven back using a different route than my wild guess. “Anyway, I thought you might still be there.”
She simply stared at me with a puzzled look on her face before bursting out laughing and starting the car. During the drive back she could not help glancing at me every now and then, laughing. The word ‘men’ was muttered a few times.
When we got home again (and my wife had recounted the whole story to her mother and father) I discovered that I had a voice mail on my phone from the Chiropractor. When I listened to it the mystery deepened.
“Hello. This is the chiropractor,” a polite female voice informed me in Dutch, “You had an appointment at eight o’clock this morning that you missed. Could you please phone me back on this number when possible?”
“What the hell!” I thought, “I was there.”
How could they be so un-organised that they forget to note down my appointment and then call me back an hour later, accusing me of missing it? Our old chiropractor would never have made such a mistake. I’d woken up early in the morning for nothing. All of this could have been avoided if…
“Oh no!” A horrible thought had suddenly occurred to me. I quickly checked my wife’s contact list and redialled the number.
“Hello,” replied the polite female voice from the message.
“Hello. My name is Stuart. I think I might have had an appointment with you this morning which I missed,” I replied in my best Dutch (which is not ‘best’ by most other people’s standards).
“That is correct. It was at 8:00 this morning,” she replied.
“This is going to sound like a strange question,” I began, “but is this the chiropractor in Rotterdam?”
“It is,” said the voice on the other end of the line, slightly puzzled by this line of questioning.
It’s important to remember at this point in the story that we had recently moved.
“Then I know what has happened. I’m really sorry. It’s my fault,” by which I meant it was my wife’s fault, “We’ve moved and I thought I was calling our new chiropractor here in Friesland when I made the appointment. That explains why they had no record of my appointment when I went there this morning.”
The voice on the other end of the phone simply giggled, “That’s ok. These things happen.”
We said our goodbyes and I hung up. Afterwards I informed my wife that she had forgotten to update her contact list and had given me the wrong number, to which she still continues to reply with, “You should have checked the number before calling. Didn’t you notice the area code?”
To which I have continued to reply, “I didn’t look at it. I trusted you! You said you had the number.”
I have yet to win the argument.
Since then the chiropractor (the one in Friesland) has sorted out my back and I am now pain free. He even apologised for the mix up to which I had to explain it was actually my fault and tell him the whole story.